With August coming to a close, the new semester — and all of its stressors and anxieties — is looming on the horizon. Cue the feelings of dread, right? There’s no way to completely eliminate all of the stress that the semester brings, but there are a few simple ways to manage it and maybe even enjoy yourself despite the whirlwind! Here’s what I’ve found to work for me and hopefully these ways can help you make your semester the slightest bit more bearable!
1. Stay organized
Seems obvious, I know, but I can’t stress to you enough how important it is to keep everything in its place. Have a different colored folder (or binder depending on your preference) with a matching notebook for each class to keep everything in order and easily accessible. Or, if you’re a computer-note-taker and use a program like Microsoft OneNote, make the tab for each class the same color as the folder for that class. This makes it easy to locate the papers and notes you need ASAP!
2. Keep your space tidy
If you plan on doing any studying in your dorm or bedroom (which, even if you don’t want to, happens sometimes) keep your room tidy. This goes beyond just your desk space; make your bed, pick up your socks off the floor, put your dirty clothes in the hamper. I’m not talkin’ a deep clean of your room or anything, but just de-clutter a little bit before you sit down and hit the books. A clear space = a clear mind!
3. Plan, Plan, Plan
Find a planner that works for you and use it! Use the crap out of it! For me, I like the giant ones (8.5 x 11) because they give me a large monthly spread where I can write in all of my due dates, big plans, and activity schedule, and large weekly spreads that give me enough space to write in daily details + to-do lists. My planner is my ride or die; I need it for daily survival or I would literally lose my marbles. It keeps me on track and helps ensure I get everything done!
4. Work like it’s a 9-5
This tip really helps me to not overwhelm myself. I try as diligently as possible to keep my class schedule early so that I have enough time in the afternoon to get my work done before dinner. Or, if 9-5 doesn’t exactly fit with my schedule, I dedicate a similar time slot to school work so that I have time to focus on me. I really don’t like to carry my studying past dinner time and try to accomplish the bulk of it between 9 and 5. Sometimes it’s not very feasible, particularly before a midterm or a big paper (sometimes ya just gotta do a little overtime, right?), but for the majority of the semester I try to stick to this schedule to keep my stress level down.
5. Take time to de-stress
For me, this means working out or doing yoga but whatever kicks your stress to the curb is something you NEED to work into your schedule. I know it might be hard to find the time, but even just five minutes of doing something that allows your mind to drift away from your to-do list is extremely important for your well-being!
6. Set a self-care routine
Taking care of your mind + body is always important but even more so when you find you’re under tons of stress. I usually do my self-care late at night to relax myself right before going to sleep. Soothing yourself and going that extra mile for yourself after a long day feels amazing and you deserve it! I’m going to be uploading my self-care routine very very soon so keep an eye out for that if you need some ideas!
7. Limit your caffeine intake
College students eat, sleep, breathe coffee. It’s in our blood. It’s basically essential for our survival. I’m an avid coffee drinker and used to gulp down 4 cups a day…it was so easily accessible and yummy and helped me through those long, boring lectures. But it threw my sleep schedule insanely off, which led to more sleepiness, which led to more cups of coffee — it’s a vicious cycle. Limiting myself to 1-2 cups per day gave me the caffeine boost I needed to get through my schedule while still letting me sleep at night making me happier, and more awake + attentive throughout the day.
8. Rotate study spots
Let’s be real, the library is always packed but who really wants to sit in those god awful chairs for their entire study sesh? NOT ME! There are a zillion places to study around college campuses so take advantage of them! Maybe go to the lib one day, then the next find a spot outdoors, and the next day hit up a coffee shop or a different academic building! Changing your surroundings while studying keeps things a little more interesting than they would be otherwise (I mean, you’re studying, how interesting can it really get?) It also keeps you from falling into a boring, monotonous routine.
9. Fuel your mind + body
That little mind and body of yours is going to be working extra hard throughout the semester, it’s only fair that you give it the energy it needs to keep chugging. Whole foods, fruits, + veggies are essential to keeping your bod + brain healthy and happy. Over- processed foods and fake sugars, though they may taste delish, slow you down and make you sleepy…exactly what you don’t need! Stay tuned for my favorite healthy snacks on a college budget in a few weeks!
10. Laughter is absolutely the best medicine
A cliche, yes, but a truthful one nonetheless. Surround yourself with a crew that keeps the giggles flowing. Smiling and laughing releases happy chemicals in your brain and makes it easier to get through a long, tough day. Find the people who can make an eight hour study day a little more bearable and never let them go! My friends and I love to lib together…we study for an hour, then chat for 10 minutes, then get back to the books for another hour. It’s a great way to get your stuff done while semi-enjoying yourself.
I hope you gained a little something from this! Until next time, thanks for stopping by!